WWF: Fully Loaded – In Your House XXIII (07.98)

WWF: Fully Loaded: In Your House
July 26, 1998
Fresno, CA
Selland Arena

The current WWF champs are as follows:
WWF Champion: Steve Austin (6/29/1998)
Intercontinental Champion: The Rock (12/8/1997)
World Tag Team Champions: Kane & Mankind (7/13/1998)
European Champion: D’Lo Brown (7/20/1998)
Light Heavyweight Champion: TAKA Michinoku (12/7/1997)

Before the show, Sable gives Jerry Lawler a sneak peek of what she’ll be wearing in the bikini contest later tonight. He acts like he’s never seen plastic before and reacts as only Lawler can.

Your hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler.

  • Val Venis vs. Jeff Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee & Southern Justice)

Val wants to show everybody his Big Valbowski when Tennessee Lee interrupts with Jeff Jarrett. Yamaguchi-san joins Ross and Lawler for commentary. Nice Hideo Nomo hat there. We’re just going to ignore his broken English for now. Jarrett trips up Val and walks all over him to start. There’s the Fargo Strut. Venis does the same thing to Jarrett and does the Rick Rude bit times ten. He catches Jarrett for a hotshot to take control. Venis buries the knees into Jarrett coming off the ropes and delivers a Russian legsweep. Yamaguchi-san says Val there’s a very big surprise planned for him tomorrow night on RAW. After they trade some rollups, Jarrett finds a powerbomb, which looked more like the Kevin Nash variety where he just dumps Venis. Jarrett sends him to the floor for some managerial interference. Back in, Venis rallies back with chops as the crowd WOOs. SET FLAIR FREE! Jarrett blocks an exploder suplex and hits a DDT. Sleeperholds are traded, but Jarrett counters with a back suplex. Venis flips out of a suplex and delivers a belly to belly suplex as the ten count begins. They get up at seven and trade punches. Venis scores with an atomic drop and a clothesline. Fisherman suplex gets 1-2-NO! Jarrett avoids a corner charge and delivers a flying body press for two. Val comes back with a powerslam and starts to head up top when the ref gets elbowed in the eye. While ref Tim White is trying to make sure he’s still got an eye, Tennessee Lee trips Venis on the top rope. We can see Val has a cut under his eye. Jarrett brings Venis down with a superplex and tries the Figure-Four, but Val blocks with an inside cradle for 1-2-NO! That brings Tennessee Lee up on the apron to be knocked down for an O’Connor roll as Venis gets the three-count. (7:51) Afterwards, Venis tells Yamaguchi-san that he’s got a small dick for the lulz. Pretty good match as Venis does seem to be improving. **

  • D’Lo Brown (c) (w/the Godfather) vs. X-Pac (w/Chyna)

D’Lo lets the chants that he indeed sucks get to him, as X-Pac controls with armdrags and kicks. Brown comes back with a Spinning Heel Kick of his own for two. X-Pac misses a charge in the corner and then gets stuck in a chinlock. He fights out, but takes a nasty corner bump. Flying forearm smash by D’Lo gets two. Back to a chinlock. D’Lo then tries a moonsault, but X-Pac moves out of the way, causing Brown’s chest protector to work against him. X-Pac mounts his comeback and delivers the Bronco Buster. Godfather lands a forearm from the apron, but X-Pac returns the favor and knocks him down to the floor. As X-Pac turns around, he walks right into the SKY HIGH for the win. (8:29) They didn’t knock it out of the park, but it was okay considering this was the beginning of D’Lo’s singles run. **

Kevin Kelly and Tom Prichard are standing by at the WWF.com desk to say that the Undertaker is not in the building yet, but Prichard believes that Taker won’t let his fans down.

  • Faarooq & Scorpio vs. Terry Funk & Bradshaw

Before the match, Terry Funk tells the world that this will be his last match – for at least six months. Bradshaw seems pretty pissed because he finds this news out with the rest of us. Bradshaw bullies Scorpio around to start – clearly doing a Stan Hansen imitation. We get an APA showdown. Bradshaw hammers Faarooq with a flying shoulder block. Tag to Funk, he punches down Faarooq and follows up with a reverse neckbreaker. Faarooq rallies with a backbreaker for two. He looks for the Dominator, but Bradshaw boots him down. To prevent a double-team, Faarooq elbows Funk away and catches Bradshaw coming off the top for a powerslam. Nice! Scorpio tags in and looks to come off the top, but Funk trips him up allowing Bradshaw to deliver a back superplex for two. A nasty powerbomb gets two as well. Now back to Funk, he dumps out Scorpio for some ringside violence and throws him over the guardrail. Funk gives Scorpio that splash using the ropes. Back inside, Faarooq stops an O’Connor roll by Funk with a clothesline. Scorpio delivers a flying splash for two. The crowd lets us know they’re bored. The match breaks down allowing the Acolytes to fight on the floor while Scorpio hits the 450 SPLASH for the win. (6:52) Pissed off at Funk, Bradshaw beats the crap out of him. Since he is Funk’s friend, Scorpio comes over to help and gets turned inside out with a LARIAT. Amazing bump there. Faarooq checks on Scorpio and gets nailed with a chair! DANG BRADSHAW! He’s da real MVP now. Anyways, an otherwise heatless and rather boring match. *

  • Vader vs. Mark Henry

I really want one of those “It’s Vader Time” foam fingers. Hint, hint. Henry frustrates Vader to start as they run into each other and do a slam spot. Vader rolls out pissed off probably because it took them two tries. An off-night for the green Mark Henry as he beats down Vader. Henry manages a sunset flip though and Vader sits down on him. Vader takes him over to a corner for his signature shots. An avalanche sets up a short-arm clothesline. Henry gets tossed to the floor for a ride into the steps. Back in, Vader splashes Henry from the second rope for two. Henry powerslams Vader though and splashes him for the win. (5:04) Well, that was out of nowhere. ½*

We check in at the WWF.com desk. Still no word on the Undertaker in the building. With this news, we hear Kane’s music playing in the arena.

Oh boy. Here comes the WWF tag champs Kane and Mankind led to the ring by Paul Bearer. Since there’s no Undertaker here, they promise to finish the job on Steve Austin. The New Age Outlaws come out and challenge them to a title match for tomorrow night on RAW. Neither Kane nor Mankind respond, so a brawl erupts until refs and agents come out to stop it.

  • LOD 2000 vs. Disciples of Apocalypse (w/Paul Ellering)

So, Ellering believes that he can program one of the minds of the twins to get them both on the same page. HUH? Someone is more out of touch with heel psychology than that NWA stable. Lots of clubbering in this one. Pretty much a standard LOD match with loads of clubbering. The big turning point in the match is Hawk taking his shoulder bump off the ringpost and falling to the floor. After the Hawk in peril segment, Animal gets the hot tag. One of the twins takes the DOOMSDAY DEVICE for a nearfall. While Ellering distracts and the ref is with Hawk, the twins switch and Animal takes a DDT as the DOA gets the win. (8:50) Wow, Animal just went down to a TRANSITION MOVE in any other match. That’s not good. ¾*

Vince McMahon is followed by his stooges as they head to the ring. If the Undertaker is a no-show, Austin can have a suitable replacement partner: the BROOKLYN BRAWLER. Hilarious.

  • Dungeon Match with Special Referee Dan Severn: Ken Shamrock vs. Owen Hart

They meet down in the fabled Hart Dungeon for this pre-recorded encounter. These two finally have their big match since Owen turned on Shamrock to join the Nation. The only way to win is via submission. There’s no ropes, no real mat, and a wall of dumbbells in the room. Shamrock takes Owen down and pummels him. He runs Owen into the wall, but Owen goes low and hits a leg lariat. He hits a German Suplex and swings off a pipe into a hurracanrana. Owen tries to hit him with a dumbbell, but Shamrock blocks. Shamrock tries the same hurracanrana, but Owen blocks to a powerbomb on the floor. Owen runs Shamrock’s head through the sheetrock and locks in the Sharpshooter, but Shamrock reverses. Severn takes an errant Shamrock roundhouse kick. Shamrock, like an idiot, turns his back on Owen. Owen then knocks him cold with a dumbbell and slaps Shamrock’s arm on the mat to fake a tapout for the win. (4:54) This was certainly different and a departure from what we normally see in the WWF. Kudos for thinking outside the box. Actually seeing the Hart Dungeon sort of kills the mystique though. **½

  • 2/3 Falls for the WWF Intercontinental Championship: The Rock (c) vs. Triple H (w/Chyna)

FIRST FALL: Both DX and the Nation are barred from ringside – excluding Chyna because she has a “manager’s license”. It’s crazy how much the WWF crowds hated Rock here and two months later, he was sharing face pops with Stone Cold. We’ve got a slugfest to start with both guys taking turns. Chyna gets in a forearm shot from on the floor to set up a PEDIGREE attempt, but Rock backdrops out. HHH tosses Rock to the floor so they can brawl up the aisleway and back around to ringside where H gets whipped into the steps. Back in, Hunter comes back with a swinging neckbreaker and a suplex to remind us that this is a wrestling match. Crotch Chop Knee Drop follows for two. They trade chops in the corner (WOO!) until Rock whips Triple H across for the Harley Race corner flip to the outside. Rock gives H a suplex on the floor. Hunter blocks a steel steps head smash and returns the favor, but takes a slam so Mark Henry can run down and SPLASH him! Billy Gunn comes down and scares Henry away. Rock throws Hunter back in and while Chyna argues Rock over how NSYNC is wayyy better than the Backstreet Boys with ref Mike Chioda, he decks H with the IC belt. Cover gets two! After a swinging neckbreaker, we hit the chinlock here at about thirteen minutes into this match. That shows you just about as far as the Rock could take a match at this point in his short career. HHH elbows out into a clothesline for two. Rock takes him to the floor for some cable choking. Back in, Rock delivers a Hurricane DDT (kind of) for 1-2-NO! Rock reverts to the chinlock. HHH starts a comeback with a High Knee, but runs into a hotshot. Here comes the Godfather, but he’s scared of two white men better known as the New Age Outlaws who stand in his way and walk him back to the locker room. With the Rock stomping a mudhole clean through Triple H, ref Mike Chioda moves him back as D’Lo Brown runs down to bash HHH with the European title from the top rope. HHH sees him coming and crotches him and then knocks him to the floor with the title belt. Just as it seems Triple H has the upper hand, he turns around into the ROCK BOTTOM for the 1-2-3. Rock takes the first fall at 20:24.

SECOND FALL: After the minute long rest period, they head back to the floor for more brawling. Rock shoots H off into the guardrail, but he explodes back in his face with a lariat. Rock quickly comes back with a catapult onto the SAT. Back in the ring, Rock delivers the People’s Elbow (back when it was more of an insult than a finisher) gets two. H hits Rock with a clothesline, which brings D’Lo back to life. He climbs up on the apron with his Euro belt in hand as Chyna storms over and yanks him down into the guardrail. Ref Mike Chioda heads out to put a stop to the shenanigans on the floor while X-Pac sneaks in through the crowd and delivers the X-FACTOR to the Rock. That’s important because he beat the Rock with that very move two weeks before on Raw. H crawls over and covers for 1-2-NO! Now Hunter brings a chair into the ring while Chyna has Chioda’s attention. Who knew those two had so much in common? Hunter and Rock fight over possession of the chair until H ducks a swing and Chioda takes the chair in the back. Rock levels H with a clothesline and looks to whack him with the chair, but Chyna stops that with a Low Blow. Chyna gives Rock a DDT on the chair and gets rid of the evidence as HHH covers for the three count and the second fall at 26:36.

THIRD FALL: Another rest period eats up a minute of this match. Once the bell sounds and ref Earl Hebner runs down to take Chioda’s place, H covers the still unconscious Rock for 1-2-NO! Triple H takes Rock to the floor to send him into the guardrail. Back in, Triple H gets a Face Buster for two. Rock catches H for a desperate Samoan Drop for a nearfall. Hunter wins a slugfest, but runs into a ROCK BOTTOM attempt. HHH shrugs it off and delivers a PEDIGREE! Oh, but we’re out of time. Sorry, pal. (30:00) Rock retains, but it wouldn’t be long before Hunter regains the IC strap from Rock in the ladder match the following month at SummerSlam. There was no way Rock and Triple H could go thirty minutes without exposing weaknesses, so they overbooked the crap out of this with multiple run-ins and ringside brawling. **½

Kevin Kelly and Tom Prichard confirm that the Undertaker has arrived.

Dustin Runnels comes out to pray for our souls before this next segment. He warns that “the Messiah” is coming very soon. I wonder what the end game was for this.

  • Bikini Contest: Sable vs. Jacqueline (w/Marc Mero)

So, this feud is essentially over who is the better man pleaser without being the bigger whore. However, this bikini contest is about showing off as much as you can of your body without being totally naked, which from my understanding is part of what being a whore is, so I have no idea what this contest is supposed to prove. TURN BRAIN OFF BECAUSE BOOBIES, I guess. There’s actually a “Tale of the Tape” graphic put up on WWF.com. Apparently, some guy named Lucas put that graphic together. Lawler handles the proceedings, if you will. Jackie has what could be called dental floss covering her hips and nips (and she lets one of them nips slip). Sable one-ups her with a painted-on bikini. Meh. As someone who never found either one of these women attractive, this was actually boring for me. [N/R]

  • WWF World Tag Team Championship: Kane & Mankind (c) (w/Paul Bearer) vs. The Undertaker & Steve Austin

Taker meets Austin nose-to-nose in the aisle only for Mankind and Kane to attack and trigger a brawl. Once Kane and Mankind are down, Austin flips Taker the bird just to let him know where he stands right now. Austin gets beat up for a bit by both men, but comes back with a Thesz Press and the elbow. He wants to give Kane the Stunner early, but Kane pushes him off and bails. Austin then beats him up the aisle and brings him back in the ring to tag Taker. He gives his brother a Russian legsweep of all things and stands back up to give Austin the bird in return. Austin just laughs it off. Taker abuses Mankind with Stinger Splashes and follows up with Old School. They continue to beat the heck out of each other. Blind tag to Kane, he surprises Taker with a Chokeslam! Mankind hits the running knee in the corner and delivers a Double-Arm DDT for 1-2-NO! Austin makes the save. Cactus Clothesline takes us to the floor. When Mankind looks for the Cactus Elbow, Austin runs him off the apron onto the announce table! Kane cuts off Taker’s comeback by sending him into the steps. Back in, Taker hits the running DDT on Mankind. HOT TAG TO AUSTIN! He stomps a mudhole and walks it dry all over Kane. Austin lands the Bossman straddle and uses a chair Mankind tossed into the ring behind the ref’s back for a NASTY chairshot to the face of Kane. Good thing he’s got that mask on! Cover, 1-2-NO! Big boot by Kane slows down Austin as the tag champs get some guardrail action on him. Back inside, Austin becomes *your* face in peril. Kane and Mankind elbow drop and chinlock the WWF champ. Taker does what he can to further the drama over where his help lies by not reaching out for a tag and walking into the ring and then not bothering to stop Austin from getting double-teamed. Chokeslam to Austin! Mankind calls for a Tombstone, but Austin slips out and drops Kane with the STONE COLD STUNNER. Mankind tries the MANDIBLE CLAW, but Austin escapes with another Stunner. Everybody’s down but Taker! As Austin starts to crawl, Taker ponders whether or not he should stick out his hand to a chorus of boos – and decides to do so! Austin tags the Undertaker. He is ROCKIN and ROLLIN over Kane and Mankind. JR – “There ain’t no conspiracy!” Taker drops them both with Chokeslams before he drills Kane with a TOMBSTONE. As Taker covers Kane, Austin leaps over him to clothesline Mankind away so Taker can get the 1-2-3. (17:29) Ladies and gents, we’ve got *new* WWF tag team champions. After the match, Taker leaves ringside with both belts. Needless to say, Austin is quite confused. Isn’t that really the underlying “attitude” of tag team wrestling in the late ’90s though? All that draws is singles wrestlers? This was as good as it could have been. It just provides the setup for the SummerSlam main event anyways with the whole “they don’t get along and they’re the tag champs” vibe they did a year ago with Austin and Michaels. **½

Final Thoughts: This was really just a filler PPV to set up the much BIGGER PPV at SummerSlam with the highly anticipated showdown between Steve Austin and the Undertaker and also building to the climax of the Nation/DX feud when the Rock and Triple H meet in the ladder match. The undercard wasn’t very good, but everything from the Hart Dungeon match onward was at least entertaining. All the same, I’m going with a slight thumbs down for the first Fully Loaded PPV.

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